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The Power of Literacy

Nov 23, 2021

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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

After understanding the basic and reformed concepts of literacy, we need to tackle the question: why is literacy important? The main significance of literacy is being able to communicate with other people to perform transactions on a daily basis i.e. anything from monetary trade, social interaction and civic duties, and so on. Literacy has many layers. It is important for personal, professional and social life. And the biggest significance of literacy is protection; protection from fraud, deception, and even adversity.

Literacy comes with a certain power and self-worth. But the fact that many people in history, and sadly even today, are denied the opportunity to be literate and gain knowledge. This makes the existing situation compelling.  

Literacy, especially advanced forms of literacy are a privilege to say the least. Many developing countries do not support nor encourage girls to pursue higher studies. Especially in the low income areas of low-income countries, where the community is backward, conservative and non-inclusive. A girl child is not just denied the right to literacy but also tortured with multiple counts of abuse. It is not to say that being literate would solve their problem or revolutionaries their community/ family. Even if the road to independence is uncertain and full of hardships, literacy gives them the option to be independent, work and earn their own money. Once they become independent, they will have a choice to leave their abusive homes and survive on their own. They can also legally or formally cut ties with their abusers without worrying about their expenses. Literacy gives them a hope to escape their unfortunate situation and start a new life on their own terms. 

There are many other notable advantages of literacy. Literacy and by extension education is a resource that allows people from lower income backgrounds and struggling households to compete in the world, find stability and be successful. Knowledge does not discriminate against people based on misogyny, sexism, racism, or materialism. Although in reality people with connection are always at advantage over people with conviction. Yet putting aside the corruption in the system, literacy is strong enough to give people hope and make their goals come true. This would also explain why people from developing countries are more ambitious and career driven for it is often the only path that most certainly leads to success (and away from misery).

Literacy also brings development into society. Anyone with the ability to read and write will be able to work and earn for themselves (while conditions like wage, experience, job opportunities and security may vary based on qualification factors), increasing their standard of life and bringing positive benefits for the country. The ability to critically understand concepts and implement them in real life situations, i.e. critical and functional literacy, makes a person an asset to their community and their field. Information literacy prevents people from falling victim to fraud schemes. Cultural and Civic Literacy educate people on community-building and social development, and so on. In many different forms, literacy allows the world to transform for the better. And that is why we need literacy.

The power of literacy, in conclusion, is that it gives people freedom and choice. Literacy is one of the greatest assets to human kind and can eradicate several our global issues if we make it a priority and invest time, effort and resources.. Increasing the literacy rate decreases liability, accelerates development, creates new job/opportunities (decreases workload), and may eradicate poverty in the long run. The full potential of literacy is yet to be unlocked but we can expect great results in the future.

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